Friday, August 26, 2016

How You Play the Game

The goal of this blog is to cure the world of who's-the-greatest-ism. Please share, share, share.
In memory of Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, 1936-2016.

DunfeeToday, 2 questions for your table.

1. What's the hardest Olympics event?
2. Who's the greatest Olympics athlete?

Let's start with #1, the hardest event.

In my humble opinion, the 50K walk has to be up near the top of the difficulty list.

That's how many miles?

50 ÷ 1.6 = 31 miles.

That is 5 miles longer than a marathon.

The top walkers completed it in 3:40.

That means that they did a marathon in three hours, then walked another five miles.

Think about that.

Another fast fact: 3:40 ÷ 31 = an average mile of 7:10.

(In the men's 20K/12.5mi race walk, the winner's average speed was a 6:31 mile. Think about that.)

Now let's look at the top four walkers in the 50K event:


Matej Tóth, Slovakia, 3:40:58
Jared Tallent,
Australia, 3:41:16
Hirooki Arai,
Japan, 3:41:24
Evan Dunfee,
Canada, 3:41:38


Note that Dunfee finished only 14 seconds behind Arai.

Some say he should have beat him — here's what happened:

With only 1 km to go, Dunfee was in third place, mere seconds behind Tóth and Talent.

Arai tried to pass him, and bumped him enough to throw Dunfee off-balance.


Arai tried to pass him, and bumped him enough to throw Dunfee off-balance.


That bump disqualified Arai and give Dunfee the bronze. 
But Arai's team appealed and won.

Olympics rules allowed for Dunfee to appeal as well.

But he chose not to.

Here's why:

"Not many people can understand the pain athletes are in three and a half hours into such a grueling race. I believe that both the Japanese athlete and myself got tangled up but what broke me was that I let it put me off mentally and once I lost that focus, my legs went to jello. Contact is part of our event, whether written or unwritten and is quite common, and I don't believe that this was malicious or done with intent. Even if an appeal to CAS were successful I would not have been able to receive that medal with a clear conscience and it isn't something I would have been proud of. I will sleep soundly tonight, and for the rest of my life, knowing I made the right decision. I will never allow myself to be defined by the accolades I receive, rather the integrity I carry through life."
Wow.

(By the way,
earlier in the race, world-record-holder Yohann Diniz was in the lead, with Dunfee a close second. Diniz had to stop due to some severe pain, and while any other racer would have gladly sailed ahead for the lead, Dunfee slowed down and encouraged Diniz to continue, sharing the lead spot with him.)

Dunfee and Diniz

So now you know my choice of the greatest Olympic athlete, possibly of all time: Evan Dunfee.

What say you?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - Thanks to NPR's Bill Chappell for telling this story.

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